Tom Klaver

Sep 30

The Case Of Ending A Video With Nothing

I’ve been watching a lot of Kickstarter videos lately. Most videos on Kickstarter aren’t made by video professionals and thus, suffer from basic mistakes that aren’t seen as important enough; simply overseen in the first place. But even some professional videos suffer as well.

It’s the act of fading-to-black at the end that annoys me the most.

When you’re putting up a Kickstarter page, the whole purpose is to sell your product. You’ll want to take every chance to market your product, so you’re investing time in creating a nice video as well. You’ll explain it, show it off, you’ll thank everyone for watching, and perhaps ask your viewers to back your project. Then, you fade to black. The video is over, your message is said.

Now, imagine you’re airing your video on TV. Every second of airtime costs you roughly $ 20,000. You’ll want to make use of every frame to spread your message, right? So why would you waste expensive airtime to end your video by fading-to-black? You wouldn’t waste expensive full-page advertising space in a newspaper either.

This is exactly what I’m getting at.

Unless your visitor is using a browser with Flash enabled, when a video is done on the Internet it just sits there, taking up 640 × 360 pixels of valuable space.

Just be aware of taking those last few frames to show your message, because it’s just a waste of beautiful space if you don’t.

Sep 25

iOS 6’s Hidden Feature: Do Not Distract

I started reading books again but it took a new feature in iOS 6 to not distract me anymore. I got my focus back like in pre-iOS 3 days, when notifications were a thing we could only dream about.

Try this:

  1. Turn on Guided Access in Settings > General > Accessibility.
  2. Switch to your book app.
  3. Triple-click the Home button to invoke Guided Access.
  4. Tap ‘Done’.

Notifications will now be hidden, and the multitasking tray and Notification Center can’t be invoked anymore.

Switching to your distraction apps now takes 3 clicks on the Home button, filling in a passcode, a tap on the ‘End’ button and a click on the Home button. Enough of a hassle to stay focused, I believe.

Give this a try if you’re in a writing or reading mood. It really helps for me.

Aug 04

On Two-Factor Authentication

Dear Evernote, Apple iCloud, Dropbox,

I love your service. I love it so much, I put most of my trusted data in your hands. On your servers. I now have access to my data everywhere. But I’ll never be the only one having access to my data if you don’t change something.

About 18 months ago, Google introduced two-factor authentication. It’s a sort of extra step after filling in your password, where you get a code sent to you via text message or in an authorized app, and after filling that in correctly as well, you get access to whatever you want access on Google’s services. I’m positive you know what this is.

I know about difficult passwords. Hard-to-crack passwords. Good passwords. But passwords aren’t enough anymore. If I log in to your service on one of my friend’s computers, chances are they have something installed that tracks the passwords their computer logs-in to, saving your password as well. In fact, Safari 6 has that feature built-in.

You can’t trust anyone enough when your data is involved. Just that second extra step brings an insane amount of security. Just with that extra step, I feel ensured that no-one:

This all gets a factor of 10 worse when the hacker also changes passwords.

I would like to ask you to consider implementing two-step authentication. I would also like to ask if you could bring out a statement that you are either:

We — the users — care about safety. And we hope you do, too.

Thanks so much for listening.

-Tom Klaver

Jul 31

I think it’s interesting to notice that…

… the fact that you can drag the keyboard up on the iPad is a clear indication that Apple realized typing on iPad in portrait mode is way too hard when the keyboard docked to the bottom of the screen.

And it definitely hadn’t been needed if the iPad were a little smaller.

Which gets me thinking: if they realize that, would they be making a smaller iPad?

Jul 25

A Post Dedicated to Pie. A Designer’s Dream Timer.

I didn’t even need it. There are apps that do it. But it’s simple. As simple as it can get. But nothing does it better.

This thing. This object. This design. This is design.

And I can’t stop looking at it.

When it’s inactive, you wouldn’t really know what it is. It’s an empty circle, with its canvas colored. About 3 cm in height. But when you play with it… when you play with it, that’s when it makes sense. When you rotate it clockwise:

5.

10.

15.

20.

Up to 60. That’s when the full canvas suddenly turns into a clock. Release it at some point in the clock and then it starts ticking.

It’s a timer. A freaking *timer*. It appeared in my life at some moment when I didn’t expect to be amazed by a timer.

And now this thing inspired me to design stuff with the same straightforwardness.

The video doesn’t do it justice. You can buy it here on Amazon. Dutchies can go here on Bol.com.

Jul 04

Online Learning > Learning from Books

For a few years I’ve been wanting to learn how to code. After quite a few takes it seems like I finally started understanding how programming works.

About 7-8 years ago, I ordered Aaron Hillegass’ Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X book. I picked it up when I put it in a carton box when we moved to a new house. Despite forum members and reviews saying it’s a really good book to start programming, it unfortunately didn’t grab me.

Then, almost 2 years ago, Twitterrific developer Craig Hockenberry wrote a book on how to code for iOS. He describes how to code - and market - a flashlight app. Designers and developers alike tweeted it was a great book. Seemed like the ideal book for me: Since I’ve had an iPhone, I started coming up with a bunch of app ideas but didn’t have the skills to code them, meaning I’d have to look for a developer who’d commit his free time bla-bla-bla hard to find.

I had coded a little ActionScript before so I reckoned that it would be an OK foundation to start coding for iOS. My hopes were demolished when after Hockenberry showed a little block of Objective-C code with a ‘for loop’ in it. He wrote, “In this contrived example, it’s easy to see you’re checking for even and odd values in a loop that executes 10 times.” Noticed the word ‘easy’? Yeah. I didn’t understand any of that code because I’d never seen a ‘for loop’ before. I quit.

When Codecademy’s Code Year launched in December ‘11, I thought: if now isn’t the time, I might just never do it. I immediately signed up. The first week of 2012 I followed the instructions of Code Year but haven’t really done anything with it since then. But then Benjamin De Cock happened:


What’s the best book / online tutorial for an absolute noobie like me to learn iOS development? — Benjamin De Cock (@bdc)Jun 27, 2012

This was last week. One of the responses he received was to give Treehouse (ref.) a try. I’ve visited the site before but the price was a bit steep: $ 25 a month.

He tweeted a few hours later that the Treehouse development training videos were the best he’d ever watched, I dug deeper into Treehouse and saw on their Twitter account that they have student discounts, although their site doesn’t mention it. Instead of paying $25 a month, you’d only pay $9 a month. Huge win. I emailed them a picture of my college card and received a URL to sign up for a student account, and another URL to a closed Treehouse Facebook group which they use as a forum.


Just watched about 10 iOS development training videos by @paradoxed on @treehouse. Those are by far the best tutorials I’ve ever seen. — Benjamin De Cock (@bdc)Jun 27, 2012

I started with Treehouse’s Introduction to Programming course which teaches you JavaScript and its if/else/else if statements, loops, variables, etc. For the first time, I really started to understand how code worked.

What Treehouse taught me is the best thing I’ve ever learned about myself. Clearly the best way for me to learn something is to see someone do it, recreate that, experiment with it by changing values (and rules) a little, and see what the results are. This applies to most tutorials, whether it be a Photoshop or programming tutorial. I reckon I can’t be the only one.

What’s rather unique and brilliant about Treehouse is it presents you with a quiz where it asks you a few tough multiple-choice questions about the videos you’ve just watched to see if you understood the material. Manage to answer 5 answers in a row correctly? You unlock the next ‘adventure’. Sometimes you’ll get a funny video as a surprise. Amazing.

At times I’d just re-watch a tutorial video because it turned out I didn’t really understand the material as well as I thought. Re-taking the quiz, it went much better. Really, this is how online learning should be. Validation is key.

I also decided to pick up Codecademy again. I want to understand what programming is about before I start the Treehouse iOS development course. Last thing I want is to give up on iOS development again because I didn’t understand the basics. I’m flying through Codecademy’s lessons right now. I can highly recommend Codecademy’s Javascript Fundamentals lessons alongside Treehouse’s courses.

I’m still learning and still don’t really know if development is something I should be focusing on. I felt it was time to learn something new again. Treehouse is perfect for that. Because every morning you ask yourself, ‘What do I want to learn today?’ Treehouse will teach you.

Thanks to Treehouse and Codecademy, I now understand Hockenberry’s ‘for loop,’ and know how to:

console.log("print things in the console! And more, of course. ;-)")

Jun 10

Update: Media Integration on iOS

Direct sharing to iMovie from GarageBand

Playing with GarageBand on iPad yesterday, I noticed a direct sharing option to iMovie. After iMovie opens it’ll ask if you’d like to create a new project or add the song to an existing one.

Not huge, but definitely strange why Apple didn’t add this option to iPhoto as well.

This update refers to June 8th’s iOS Media Integration: What Apple Should Do (Opinion) post.

Jun 08

Regarding Retina-ready Mac Apps

Several tech sites are reporting that Mac app FolderWatch has been updated to support retina displays.

Well, remember that back in March, when the new iPad wasn’t even announced yet but rumors were so clear that a retina-display iPad was coming, the Twitterrific developers published an update to their app supporting @2x graphics?

Turned out they had to rebuild their app with an updated version of Xcode, which was released the same day the new iPad was announced. Previous versions didn’t support retina iPad graphics.

You can’t just add a few @2x retina graphics to target an unannounced Apple device and expect them to work. Apple wants you to opt-in. Prepare for a new build after Xcode is updated.

In other news: I can’t wait for the new MacBook Pros.

iOS Media Integration: What Apple Should Do (Opinion)

This post originally appeared on Applingua Blog on June 5, 2012:

On March 23rd, Apple completed iLife for iPhone and iPad by introducing iPhoto for iOS. If you’ve worked with iLife on the Mac, you probably know how well the integration between all apps (iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes and GarageBand) is laid out. They’re in perfect harmony.

Say you’re on your Mac, making a small video and want to add a photo you’ve edited in iPhoto to your iMovie project. It’s seamless: Just go to the built-in media browser, drag in your photo and you’re done. Two steps.

Now imagine you’d like to do the same on your iPad (or iPhone). You’ve come to a point in your iMovie project where — hold on, that photo from iPhoto would fit perfectly here. You quit iMovie to launch iPhoto > an obtrusive non-cancelable dialog updates the iPhoto library > tap twice to find the photo you’d like to add > tap the action button to reveal the “Share” popover > tap “Camera Roll” > tap “Selected”.

A dialog will show its saving progress, followed by a dialog where you tap “OK”.

This whole process comes down to 7 tiresome taps. Back to iMovie. You tap the Photos button > tap “Camera Roll” > pick the photo. Now it’s added to your video timeline. Add 3 taps.

It took me 50 seconds on the new iPad to import an iPhoto picture into iMovie. Being obligated to use the Camera Roll is incredibly outdated. If this can’t be improved, what should?

There are several ways to do so, but here’s the best way: The iPhoto library being completely integrated into iMovie. Just like the Photos and Music library, both of which every app in the App Store can get access to by default. Every app working with any kind of files should be accessible in this system-wide library.

I completely see this improved integration happen throughout iOS 6. There won’t be yet another separate app — a collection library of all possible files a user can interact with will do. Would you want yet another icon on your Homescreen? Remember one of Apple’s (Sir Jony Ive’s) undisclosed philosophies: you shouldn’t see something unless you need it.

You say you want to add a photo from Hipstamatic while composing this email? No problem. Tap “Attach”, pick the Photos category, tap Hipstamatic, and you’ll see all your photos from Hipstamatic.

Need to attach a Keynote document to a message inside iMessage? Tap “Attach” > Documents > Keynote > and pick the document.

As an added bonus, Apple will implement a search field so you can Spotlight-search through all searchable files inside iCloud. With iCloud library, you don’t even have to worry whether a file will be on your iPad if you’ve just shot a photo with an iPhone-only app on your iPhone. Every file will be available.

The moment Apple adds this wide iLife-like integration to iOS 6, at least iLife for iOS can be the suite it deserves to be.